Wish For Our Heroes Program to provide Indianapolis 500 tickets to soldiers, veterans
"The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" has paid tribute to the troops since its inception in 1911. Activities on Sunday will begin when the gates open at 7:30 a.m., as all active members of the military will be admitted free who are in uniform or show their military I.D. at the gate.
Wish For Our Heroes (W4OH), the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indiana National Guard have teamed up this year to provide fans with an opportunity to help send active United States military or veterans to the Indianapolis 500, Super Weekend at the Brickyard or Red Bull Indianapolis GP in 2012. Wish For Our Heroes, a national, non-profit organization based in Noblesville, Ind., will coordinate purchase and delivery of all tickets to service members and veterans.
A special W4OH ticket giveaway for active duty soldiers for the 2012 Indianapolis 500 will take place on Armed Forces Day at 3 p.m. on the Coca-Cola Stage in the Pagoda Plaza.
The tickets will be presented by Melissa Jarboe, who was engaged to her husband, Jamie, on Feb. 13, 2010 at the IMS Hall of Fame Museum and were married that same day. A Frankfort (Ind.) Senior High School graduate in 2003, Sgt. Jamie Jarboe was deployed overseas later that month.
A huge fan of the Indianapolis 500, Jarboe was shot by a sniper April 10, 2011, while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and died March 21, 2012, at age 27. Since that day, Melissa has maintained her husband's Indianapolis 500 room at their home in Topeka, Kan., and she has amassed 18,000 Facebook followers who monitor her as she continues to express her feelings about her loss, helping many other family members of fallen soldiers.
Jarboe and her daughters, Celestial and Alexa, will attend the 96th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 27 as guests of Wish For Our Heroes.
The Wish For Our Heroes Fund program gives fans three ways to salute American service members through contributions or donations at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/wish4ourheroes or www.wish4ourheroes.org.
Other activities on Armed Forces Day at IMS:
•Enlistment ceremony: At 11:15 a.m., an Armed Forces Enlistment Ceremony led by Indiana Senator Richard Lugar will take place for new members entering all branches of the U.S. military. The event will take place at the base of the Pagoda on the Yard of Bricks. Melissa Jarboe also will appear at the Enlistment Ceremony.
•Military vehicle display: An extraordinary collection of military vehicles and equipment will be showcased on the Pagoda Plaza, and on Turns 7 and 9 of the IMS Moto GP course located just north of the IMS Hall of Fame Museum when the gates open at 7:30 a.m.
Aerial exhibits will include a UH-60 Black Hawk four-bladed, twin-engine, medium-lift utility helicopter that first entered service in 1979. Also on display will be a Bell OH-58 Kiowa single-engine, single-rotor helicopter used for observation, utility and direct fire support.
Ground displays will include a M777 Howitzer, which is a 155mm caliber, artillery piece, that's combined with a new GPS-guided munition that allows accurate fire for up to 25 miles.
Vehicles on display will include a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck, a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (Hummer) and an M1083 Military Truck. Also on hand will be an M1088 Medium Tactical On and Off Road Vehicle, a 40-Ton Transporter Trailer, a Palletized Load System, an M577 Command Post, an Armed Security Vehicle and an RG33 Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle.
The horses, caisson and limber of the Indiana National Guard Ceremonial Unit will also be on display during Armed Forces Day. Used during official funerals, the Indiana National Guard has the only caisson unit in the nation aside from the "Old Guard," which is famous for guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
•Fans encouraged to thank military members via Twitter: As a way to salute our active military throughout the day, IMS has encouraged fans to provide Twitter handles of friends or family currently serving in the military to the IMS Facebook page, www.facebook.com/IndianapolisMotorSpeedway. IMS then will put some of those handles on the large screen video boards on the track Sunday, May 20 and encourage fans at the track to tweet to those military members with a "thank you" message including the hashtag #500salutes.
"The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has always made celebrating and honoring our troops a priority at all our events, but especially the Indianapolis 500," said Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation President and CEO Jeff Belskus. "In this day of instant communication, we wanted to encourage our fans to pass along their thanks to those troops stationed all over the globe for the sacrifices they make every day for this country."
Admission for Armed Forces Day at IMS on Sunday, May 20 is $15, with children 12 and under free.
2012 Indianapolis 500 tickets: Tickets are on sale for the 96th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on Sunday, May 27, 2012 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Race Day ticket prices start at just $30. Fans can buy tickets online at www.imstix.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700, or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or by visiting the ticket office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.
Children 12 and under will receive free general admission to any IMS event in 2012 when accompanied by an adult general admission ticket holder.
Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are on sale. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information.Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC, and follow her on Twitter @GottaGo and Facebook. Gotta Go is published on www.BroadwayWorld.com and in M magazine and the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.